- Protesters gathered to mourn Hadis Najafi, an Iranian TikTok star who was killed on Sept. 21.
- The day erupted into a violent confrontation between protesters and security personnel, reports say.
- Najafi was killed while protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
Violence erupted at a protest in Iran on Thursday as people marched to commemorate 40 days since the death of 22-year-old TikToker Hadis Najafi, whose family says she was shot dead by Iranian security forces while attending a demonstration on September 21, the BBC reported.
Armed security forces attacked protesters with shotguns, tear gas, and machetes, according to witnesses who spoke to the outlet.
Graphic photos and videos said to have been taken during the protest show chaotic scenes, including clouds of smoke filling the air, injured protesters, and a vehicle toppled over with smoke rising from it.
—Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) November 3, 2022
Anti-government protests in Iran started nearly two months ago, after the arrest and subsequent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was taken into custody by Iran’s Islamic morality police on suspicion of not correctly wearing a hijab, according to reports.
BBC News reported that witnesses saw police beating Amini inside a van. Tehran police said her death was caused by a “heart problem.”
On the day of Amini’s funeral, women removed their headscarves and waved them in the air in protest. Various Muslim and Iranian women all over the world showed solidarity by taking off their headscarves and cutting their hair on TikTok and Instagram, Insider previously reported.
Najafi died while attending a protest in Karaj, a city to the northwest of Tehran, the BBC reported. She had fewer than 8,000 followers on TikTok but her videos, which showed her lip-syncing to popular Persian, Arabic, and English songs, regularly received hundreds of thousands of views.
Her death galvanized Karaj, which has become the latest city to join a nationwide movement protesting against the Islamic Republic, making Najafi a symbol of resistance.
As of October 10, regime forces had killed over 200 protesters, according to Hrana, a Norweigian human rights monitor. They also estimated that around 5,500 people had likely been arrested, and at least 20 members of Iran’s security forces have also been killed.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both called for criminal investigations into Amini’s death.
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